From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Richard Dempsey, Jr. '82

Date of birth: August 13, 1959

Date of death: January 27, 1989

Age: 29

Lucky Bag

From the 1982 Lucky Bag:


From Desert News on January 29, 1989:

A Navy F-14 Tomcat crashed Friday in the Arizona desert, killing a military pilot and a flight officer on a training mission from San Diego to New Orleans, officials said.

The $35 million fighter jet went down at 3 p.m. about 6 miles west of Arizona City, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Bob Pritchard said. Both the pilot, Lt. Thomas L. Gibson, 27, of Atlanta and the jet's radar intercept officer, Lt. Richard E. Dempsey Jr., 29, of Clearwater, Fla., were killed in the crash, Pritchard said.

There is a single comment on the article above: "My Daddy…", posted by "ashleydempsey27 - Shelton, WA". He was survived by his wife and two children.

Oxygen deprivation may have contributed to the crash.

He was a member of Fighter Squadron (VF) 114.


From the Times-Advocate of Escondido, California on February 1, 1989:

Lt. Richard Dempsey Jr., was a Navy flier and father of two young girls. His wife, Susan, says it’s hard to say of which he was prouder.

“His flying and his girls were his life”, she said.

Dempsey’s short but successful life ended Friday, when the Navy F-14 Jet he was flying in crashed in a cotton field in Eloy, Ariz. A resident of San Diego, he was 29.

A memorial service will be held 9 a.m. Thursday at the Miramar Naval Air Station chapel. Chaplain David Heitschmidt will officiate.

A 1982 graduate of the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., Dempsey was radar-intercept officer in the F-14 that crashed on an instrument training flight with another jet from San Diego to New Orleans. The Navy is investigating the cause of the crash, which also killed the pilot of Dempsey’s jet.

Dempsey, a native of Monterey, accomplished a great deal in a short time, said Susan, a 10-year Escondido resident whose parents also live here.

The son of Navy Commander Richard Dempsey and his wife, Shirley, of Oxnard, the younger Dempsey was one of few to earn both the Surface Warfare Office qualification and Wings of Gold, which he received after completing flight training in 1986 at the Naval Fight Officer school in Pensacola, Fla.

Rick was raised in a Navy family and grew to love the Navy, his father said. Rick's dedication to the nation, the Navy, his fellow officers and enlisted men will long be remembered.

He is survived by his wife, Susan; daughters Ashley, 3, and Katelynn, 15 months; his parents; a sister, Sheryl Lyn Flath of Watsonville; and a grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Barnes of Florida.

He also is survived by his mother and father-in-law, retired LCDR Edward Griggs and his wife, Marlene, of Escondido.

Other Information

From researcher Kathy Franz:

Richard graduated from Monterrey High School in 1977. “Rick” . . . known for fantastic oneliners in Ms. Rial’s C.P. English class . . . likes rabbit stew, hot showers, and leather . . . dislikes vanilla on a plain cone. . . greatest accomplishment so far is learning how to put on shoes and socks . . . future plans include not putting them on in that order. Football 10; Track 10; Jazz Band (trombone.)

Richard is buried in California.


Class of 1982

Richard is one of 6 members of the Class of 1982 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

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